How to respond to a petition to remove a trustee?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How to respond to a petition to remove a trustee?

I believe the trustee is acting in good faith but one of the other beneficiaries is attempting to claim a larger share of the Trust and has begun contesting the judgment of the trustee. She has hired an attorney and that attorney has petitioned the court to remove the trustee and replace him with her attorney. There are 6 beneficiaries. She has convinced 2 others to sign the petition and has asked me to sign as well. I think she believes she has a better chance with me so has not requested from the other 2; 1 of the other 2 beneficiaries is the trustee so naturally, he will not be asked. I wish to respond to the court but I do not wish to approve the request. Can I simply write a letter to that fact and submit it along with the Acceptance of Service letter that was included? Her efforts have significantly delayed the final disposition and she has already received partial distribution that equals

roughly 50% of her final amount. No one else has received any such distribution. I don’t dispute the amounts to be distributed but her efforts have additionally had an impact on the Trust and the attorney fees are beginning to get substantial.

Asked on December 5, 2017 under Estate Planning, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can file a general answer opposing the change.  You could potentially "just mail a letter" to the judge expressing your preference.  Some judges will accept letters from people who represent themselves as "pleadings."  However, some judges consider letters impermissible ex parte communications. (Meaning communication with the judge and only one party, as opposed to all of the parties).  If the judge deems your "letter" as an impermissible communication, you run the risk of the letter being returned by the clerk or the court cooridinator....and your preferences will not be heard.
Some people do not want or need to hire an attorney for full representation.  For the numbers you describe, hiring an attorney would not be the most cost effective move.  However, you may want to hire an attorney for the limited purpose of converting your letter to a formal "answer" and "pleading" that you then go and file yourself.  With the letter in proper form (by being converted to a pleading), your preferences will be known by the judge and made part of the court's formal record.  Drafting a simple answer can be as little as $50.00, but not much more than $500.00.  The amount will depend on the going rates in your area and the expertise of the attorney that you hire.  Having your voice heard is worth the small investment.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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